This is the Wedding Announcement mentioned by Rufus Burnham in yesterday’s letter.
Tomorrow I will post another Special Picture.
This is the Wedding Announcement mentioned by Rufus Burnham in yesterday’s letter.
Tomorrow I will post another Special Picture.
Same old Trumbull, but a new Sept. 2nd, 1945.
otherwise known as VJ Day
Dear Benedicts and Bachelors:
Well, the dawn of a tomorrow is at last a reality, and the “land of the rising Sun” is indeed facing a new day. When you read this however, the event will have passed on into history, and so fast is the pace these days that new events may have already crowded it into the background. There are great days ahead. Huxley once said that the most difficult time in which we live, but also the most rewarding, was in those occasional dark valleys between two peaks of vision when one system had lost its grip on men’s minds and the new system was not yet crystallized. Which seems to describe this present generation. Maybe that is why having lived through the recent dread days there is such a thrill in anticipating the days ahead which you boys, in the strength of your manhood, are facing. History shows us that man’s eternal struggle towards the heights has often been retarded and even halted, but never turned back. Problems the world is now facing will be solved. Nations will find their souls, a new and better world will emerge. You boys are truly at the threshold of great things I truly believe. So much for that, now let’s get down to earth.
Lad, of course, is the big fact still in our conscious thoughts. He and Marian, with the help of the Buick, seem to find plenty doing in these here parts. Yesterday morning we gave Elizabeth a few hours breathing spell by kidnapping Butch and Marty for an auto trip to Bronx Zoo. After returning, they went to a dance in Candlewood Lake as guests of Burr Davis and tonight they are having supper with George Knapp. Elsie just arrived so tomorrow promises also to be not without incident.
And turning to the Quotes Dept., we also have some interesting items there. Dave writes from Manila: “You are no more surprised to find I’m here than I am to be here. It all happened so suddenly that it’s still hard to believe. I’ll take it from the beginning and follow through. On August 23rd I was told that I had been taken off the old five-man team, and Friday afternoon I was told to pack my stuff and be ready to leave Okinawa by 5 AM Saturday morning. I got only one hour sleep Friday night. In the morning we went up to Kadena Airport, boarded a C-46 Commando transport and in 5 ½ hours found myself in Manila. It was my first real plane ride and I felt a little sick-ish from nervous tension. As soon as the plane started to move up the runway, I lost all fear and became intent on watching the ground below fade away. All of a sudden it just became a big thrill. I acted like a kid on his first train ride. I glued my nose to the window until I couldn’t see Okinawa anymore. Then every once in a while I’d look out to see if we might not pass over an island. Then in almost no time I began seeing the northernmost of the Philippine Islands. I watched every one of them fade away in the distance far below. Finally we got to Luzon. I was sitting up forward near the navigator’s position and by way of conversation, I said: “This is my first time”. I could tell he knew it anyway because of my eagerness to see everything below. When he finished a plot on his map he handed it to me and asked if I’d like to follow our progress as we went along. We were flying at about 8500 feet and the coastline looked just like the map. I could see the rivers and inlets and bulges along the coastline just as they were on the map. We passed over Lingayen Gulf where the American Navy had come in to retake Luzon. Then we cut inland and finally landed at Nichols Field about 6 miles outside Manila.
After waiting for about two hours (spent that time in a canteen gaping at comparatively beautiful Philippine women) we got on the truck and started towards Manila. We passed through what was once a beautiful residential district. There were remains of large and magnificent homes. We passed a ballpark that I had seen in the newsreel. The movie showed American boys cleaning the Japs out of the bleachers and an American tank pitching shells from the pitcher’s box. Now it was just a quiet, torn up mess. We passed well-to-do Philippines living like the ignorant “Okies”. When we entered Manila we saw large public buildings, half rubble and half gutted concrete frames. Manila seems to be about the size of Bridgeport, possibly larger. Can you picture the Klein Auditorium strewn all over Fairfield Avenue, the stage alone standing? Or Central High with the facade all bashed in and the rest of the school gutted, the City Trust Building reduced to four or five stories, City Hall just a pile of bricks? You can’t imagine how heartbreaking it is or how lucky we were this war turned out as it did. The City Hall here was built in 1939. You can see it was a beautiful structure but now it is full of shell and Bomb holes. The people are trying to keep their businesses going but they don’t have much to do it with. You can see where there was once a beautiful nightclub. It is now a makeshift affair with a makeshift band looking like a sideshow at Coney Island. That about explains the whole city – – just a bunch of concessions on the sidewalks of a gutted ghost-city. http://rogue.ph/18-photos-that-show-manila-before-and-after-world-war-ii/
The following quote is from an interview I had with Dave about his childhood memories and growing up in Trumbull:
On August 25th, I think, we were all watching a film in a kind of natural amphitheater and one of the guys from Brooklyn had a buddy, who was also from Brooklyn, and I remember this just as if it was yesterday, he came running over – we had gotten some rumors that the Japs were going to quit – and this guy came running over and says, “The signing has been confoimed.” I never forgot that.
But anyhow, between the time of August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila. Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they’re shipping me out in a plane to Manila. The pilot spent about 20 minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.” Anyhow, we got to Manila. That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted,… All kinds of destruction. If you went to the City Hall and looked up, you’d see a room with curtains on the windows. That was MacArthur’s headquarters. So he had curtains on his windows and the Filipinos were watching dead bodies float down the river.
I would say I was in Manila probably six months. I came home in May, 1946.
I’ll tell you more next time. The address will do for the time being until we can find out a little more. Dave
For the rest of the week I’ll be posting the rest of this long letter, including a very interesting letter from Ced.
Lad sent this V-Mail to Dan five days after Dan and Paulette’s wedding in Calais, France. Lad returned to his Base in southern France and discovered that the Battalion had left without him. More on this story later.
S. France – July 20, 1945
Dear Dan: –
While I was gone it happened and I’m part of the rear detachment, so you had better not plan to try to see me. I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do about it. Better luck next time. Will probably see you after this is all over. Had no trouble getting back at all.
I think Paulette is swell, and I really had a lot of fun even if it was a little bit hectic.
Hope you get a chance to go home before long and that Paulette can follow you soon. I think she’ll be able to adjust herself in a few months, but will probably miss France for quite a long time. She will be well liked at Trumbull, anyhow, I know.
If you get a chance will you drop Marian a line? She’d be interested in knowing about Al’s plans, at least as much as you know.
Give my love to “Chiche” when you see her and I’ll be seeing you both sometime soon. Be careful. Lad
This is the last communication from lad. The next letter I have in sequence is a letter dated September 2nd from Grandpa addressed “Dear Benedicts and Bachelors”. During this time frame Lad came home to Trumbull. There is no letter explaining how this happened so I’m going to let Lad tell you in his own words, which I recorded on one of my trips to California.
LAD – Dan and I were both in France in 1945. I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day, I’ve forgotten what it was, I think it was in mid-summer. I talked my Captain into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris. That was as far as I should go. So I went to Paris and checked into the (Hospitality) Hotel. I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with a toothbrush and that’s about it, I guess, maybe a comb, too. I decided to try to get to Calais (where Dan was to be married). I didn’t know how far it was, maybe 50 or 60 miles from Paris, north of Paris, up on the coast. I got a ticket on a train and the train went about 5 or 6 mph for about 10 or 15 minutes, then it stopped. It stood there for a long, long time, then it went a little further and it stopped again. I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked. I beat the train by a day. I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking. An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go. I told him Calais. He said, “That’s not far. I’ll take you up there.” So that’s how I made the last two thirds of the trip to Calais. I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s mother’s house, her mother and father’s house. He was a pharmacist. It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there. I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day. The third day, my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back. I went back to Paris on the train, and this time, it went pretty well. I grabbed all of my equipment out of the Hospitality Hotel and checked out. I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseille, but by this time, I was one day over my pass. When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields. Everything was gone! I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened. He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday, I guess it was, or Sunday. I told him my name and he said, “Oh, yeah. They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.” So he told me where to go and what to do. I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me. There was another fellow there, Bob Marks. I was with the 3019th and he was with the 3020th. He had been left behind to gather all the equipment. I said, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.” So Bob and I got together and found our equipment, we both belonged to the 149th Battalion. We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa. I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard. We started out but when we were about 200 miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima. We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York. After I returned to New York I was stationed at Fort Dix. I didn’t know how many months, a couple or three months. They didn’t know what to do with me. I went home every weekend and came back on Monday. Finally they said to me, “We don’t know what to do with you so you might as well go home and get discharged.” So that’s what finally happened.
For the rest of the week I will be posting Grandpa’s letters to the Benedicts and Batchelder’s.
David Peabody Guion
April 9, 1946
Dear Gang –
Yep, still here. Rumors still say we are to leave here April 13 – but the Gen. Heinzelman still hasn’t arrived. I have three letters here which I shall answer. The first is one written on Feb. 6 and send to Dan by mistake. As this is all about the office, I’ll wait till I get home before I answer it. I was glad to get a report on how things are shaping up, though. The second was written on St. Patrick’s Day. It contained little news but was nevertheless important. A letter is a letter – even if it’s a short one. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves in New York with the Stanley’s. Wish I’d been there.
This third letter quotes a letter of mine in which I tell of being relieved of duty. This one, I presume, is to be the last I received. It was written March 24 and said that you are sending a copy to Aunt Dorothy in case I didn’t get it here. By the way, thank you for Aunt Dorothy’s new address. She sure does get around. I probably wouldn’t have been able to find her if I hadn’t gotten this letter. This brings me to your predictions on my arrival date in Trumbull. The day before I received your letter, I set a date in my mind – a goal so to speak. Figuring on leaving here Saturday (the 13th), and taking seventeen days across the Pacific (April 30), seven days across the country (May 7), three days in Fort Devens (the 10th) and one day to get home (May 11 – say 3:30 or 4:oo P.M.), my guess would be the same day as Lad’s. The only trouble is that with this plan I’m allowing no time for the inevitable delays in Army transportation. I’m figuring on no time in Calif. And I don’t think seven days ‘cross country is particularly slow for an Army troop train. If I leave Saturday, though, I most certainly should be home sometime during the week of May 12 to 18.
My thanks to Lad for any and all work done at the office. I know you’ve been up to your neck, Dad, and I guess you had real need for the help. Anything Lad does now will make it easier for me, too – so “Thanks, again, Lad.”
It looks to me as if Dan is having as much trouble getting to England as I am having trying to find a ship with my bunk on it. I hope Dan’s nerves aren’t taking the beating mine are. I’ll have had three weeks in the Depot next Saturday. The usual wait is three to five days. And to top it all off there’s no shoulder to cry on.
Guess this does it for this time. When I get definite news that I’m leaving Saturday I may not have time to write – but I’ll try to say something even if it’s just – “I’m leaving”. So – “till we meet again” –
Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in nineteen forty-five. On Monday I’ll post a quick V-Mail from Lad to Dan. The rest of the week will be devoted to a five-page letter from Grandpa to Benedicts and Bachelors. Judy Guion
My Uncle Dave is getting impatient to get back to Trumbull. This letter explains his frustration.
April 5, 1946
Rec’d. Apr. 15
Dear Dad –
I’m truly sorry for neglecting to write at such an important time. I left for the Depot on schedule just as I wrote. But there wasn’t room for me on the boats that were here at the time. I’ve been waiting at the Depot ever since. As things stand now, I will leave here sometime around the middle of the month, getting into Frisco the first week in May. I should be home around the middle of May.
The ship I’ll probably sail on is the General Heinzelman. It’s arrival in Manila and it’s estimated time of arrival in the states is not yet definitely known because of storms in the Pacific. But you can be pretty sure of seeing me is sometime between the fifteenth and twentieth of May.
I am well and unhappy – this business of waiting three weeks for a ship isn’t easy.
Don’t be surprised if I’m a little thin when I get home – hot weather never did agree with me, and I had fourteen straight months of it. But it’s nothing that a little of your cooking won’t fix up in a short time.
See you soon –
P.S. Written in a hurry – hope you can read it.
Tomorrow I will be posting another letter from Dave to the Gang in Trumbull.
Jan. 16, 1946 – Manila
Dear Dad –
I was just talking to a fellow that said he knew a fellow that got out of the Army by being declared essential to the organization in which he worked before the war. It sounds very far-fetched to me – but I’ve gotten so desperate waiting for the Army to make a definite statement that it will stick to concerning discharge – that I figure I may as well try anything. If you can
prove that I’m essential to the business in order for it to run properly and smoothly, and present your case to the Red Cross, maybe I won’t have to wait until May or June. According to Ike, it will be that long before I’ll be able to go home – I’ve got just barely two years service.
I got your “book” on activities on Christmas at Trumbull. I especially liked the part about Marty. There should be more people in this world like him. I hope “growing up” doesn’t change him.
I’m in for T/4 again. Some one of these days it will come through. This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve gone in for it.
Tomorrow I’m going to have a tooth pulled. Do you remember some time ago I had a large filling put in one of my teeth? Well, it came out before we landed on Okie – and now I’m having it pulled. Wish me luck!
Yesterday I went to Adjutant General Publications Dept. to see if I could get a job there. They use Photo-offset out there. I’m almost positive that I can’t get
a transfer from here – but like I said at the beginning of the letter – I’ll try anything now.
Lad and Marian’s Christmas Card to Grandpa in December, 1945.
“We cant let the rest of the family get too far ahead of us. The doctor tells us that we can expect our baby in June or July.”
I intend to write to Lad and Marian, and congratulate them, etc. But I know myself too well. So I’ll say it here.
Congratulations to you both (or should I say to you three). Here’s wishing you all (that’s leaving it open for more additions) (No one knew but Lad and Marian actually had twins in June of 1946, my brother Douglas and me.) every kind of happiness throughout all the years to come.
Tomorrow, another letter from Dave to his Father.
I believe this was the first formal photograph Lad and Marian had taken at a studio. I don’t think they liked it very much because they had another one done.
Dear Dad: –
I’m afraid this won’t be a very lengthy letter this week. We don’t have very much to report. Life goes on just about as usual – night classes continue – and the weather remains as hot as it ever was. We had three downpours today, but they didn’t cool us off very much. The natives tell us that this weather won’t last too much longer. By the time it changes, we’ll be transferred I guess, so in any case, we shouldn’t get a change of weather.
Did we tell you that the long-lost package from Ced finally arrived? It has been reclining in the Pomona Railway Express Office for lo these many months. It was none the worse for wear, however – and the presence of Christmas wrapping in September didn’t faze us one bit. It was still fun to open the package. I received a furry pair of slippers – real Alaskan models, and just a trifle too big, but I don’t mind in the least. They are very comfortable, and the fur lining will be wonderful in winter – and Lad received a wooden cigarette case, with a propeller-like top which swings around to reveal the cigarettes.
We were a little worried about Lad’s being able to get gasoline to drive back and forth each day – they are most particular, here, and give out very little extra gas – But due to Lad’s persuasiveness and the fact that he refused to believe them when they said “No” the first time, we now have a “C” book and one less worry.
Sorry this is so short. Maybe we can do better next time.
All our love,
Marian and Lad
Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to the Fugitives from a lumber camp.
It is the fall of 1944, and Lad and Marian are in Jackson, Mississippi. Lad is an Instructor of Army Mechanics. Dan is in France, following D-Day, and reports about German atrocities. Ced remains in Anchorage, Alaska, where he is employed as an airplane mechanic and Bush pilot. Dick in in Santaliza, Brazil, and Dave is at Camp Crowder, preparing for a trip “to somewhere”.
Marian (Irwin) Guion
Dear Dad —
The week is practically over and it suddenly occurred to me that we haven’t written to you as yet, so if this violent stationary of mine doesn’t put your eyes out, I’ll try to acquaint you with our latest happenings.
Which really aren’t very many. Things go on just about as usual – swing shift still in session. Lad’s working quite hard – he’s the only one of the instructors, I believe, who has classes right straight through until 1230. The others get off early two or three nights in the week. Consequently, it’s pretty tiring.
The photograph that I mentioned sending to you hasn’t gotten in the mail yet! Were awfully sorry, but there seems to be a shortage of boxes and cardboard around here, so that we are having difficulty trying to find something to wrap it in. But will get it to you eventually.
The hot weather is with us again, and believe me it is rather hard to take – it is so darned unpleasant being so “sticky” all of the time, and when the nights don’t cool off it’s hard to get decent sleep. Our only consolation is that the hot spells don’t seem to last very long.
If you have the opportunity, may we recommend Bing Crosby’s latest picture, “Going My Way”, ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036872/ ) as a definitely “must see” for you. I think Aunt Betty would enjoy it, too, as well as Jean, for to our way of thinking, it is the best picture we have seen this year. The title is a little confusing, and it is hard to imagine Bing Crosby in the role of a priest, but he and Barry Fitzgerald do an exceptionally fine job in the picture. I saw it twice, and would thoroughly enjoy seeing it again. Perhaps you’ve seen it already. If so, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Incidentally Dad, we thought your last letter (Dated September 10th) was a “top – notcher” – particularly Dave’s reminiscent contribution. And to think it came from an ancient 18-year-old! You must feel exceedingly proud, Dad, when you receive such letters, and what satisfaction you must have, knowing that you were in a large part responsible for such perfectly grand results as five wonderful sons and an equally fine daughter.
Pleasant surprise! Lad just came home early (Wonder of wonders) and he is hungry, so I’d better get busy and fix him something to eat.
Lad brought your latest letter with him, tonight. The news of the hurricane was not too good, to say the least. It’s a shame about all those lovely trees. We hope that the house, however, is none the worse for wear.
Lad says to tell you he is going to follow through on Uncle Ted’s suggestion. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. It sounds wonderful as far as we are concerned – hope Uncle Sam feels the same way.
Love to all – Lad & Marian
Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to DARCD (code for all the boys in the family). This letter is filled with news about friends and family. For the rest of the week, I will post letters from Biss (Elizabeth, Grandpa’s only daughter) to Ced, another from Marian to the Trumbull folks, and another from Grandpa to his boys.
Dave, Grandpa’s youngest son, has been in the Army for about two years. He turned eighteen in September, 1943, left school and enlisted over Christmas break. He wrote his first letter home on January 15, 1944. At that point he was at Ft. Devens in Massachusetts. From there he was sent to Camp Crowder in Missouri for further training. On January 31, 1945, he wrote his last letter from Camp Crowder and left for parts unknown. The next letter from Dave to Grandpa was a V-Mail “from somewhere in the Pacific”. He arrived in Okinawa but ended up staying on board the ship for a few days until the area could be cleared of any remaining Japanese troops. V-J Day occurred on August 15, 1945. His last letter from Okinawa is dated August 11, 1945. His next letter, dated August 26, 1945, came from Manila. At this point, Dave is hoping to be home in May or June, 1946.
David Peabody Guion
Jan 11, 1946
Dear Dad –
We got a message to our code room last night coming from Eisenhower and going to Gen. Styer and other base commanders. The message contained a plan for expediting the shipment of troops home for discharge. It asked for a reply as to whether it would be possible to carry out the plans. The message stated that all man with 2 1/2 years service and 45 points will be home
by April 30th. All man with 2 years of service and 40 points will be out by June 30th. This second group would include me. I have 32 points as of V-J Day and two years active service as of Jan. 13 – two days from now. The message stated that this plan was a must and a minimum. If the men could be released faster, then they should by all means be released. After the 2 1/2 year man leave Manila (in early April if they are to be in the states by the dead – line) they will start sending the man with 2 yrs., 5 months,
then 2 yrs, 3 months, etc. I figure that I should leave, at the latest, by May 15th. If we keep bringing pressure to bear on Washington, it can be sooner than that.
If we’re actually needed over here for the good of the country, then I am the last one on earth that would ask to be allowed to go home. But I think if the government had worked for weeks they couldn’t have thought of a poorer excuse than to say they don’t have replacements.
I may sound cynical, but I think if there is really a dire need for us out here, the government could have given us a better reason for keeping us here – even granting that the real reason may be a diplomatic or military secret. Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that politics of one sort or another has entered into the matter. I hope I’m wrong – but I’ll have to have proof to the contrary if I’m to believe anything else. With that said, I’ll change the subject.
I have here five letters from you yet unanswered. The first is a three-part job: one part concerning your information on surplus goods; the second on Thanksgiving Day activities; and third on news accumulated between Thanksgiving and the following Sunday.
I can see nothing wrong with your suggestion that I write to the Boston Corporation. I shall try to get around to doing that before too much more time passes.
The Thanksgiving Day summary was interesting but requires no comment except that I wish I could have been there. The only comment I have to make on Sunday’s letter is that if your kindness in letting the gang use the barn is being abused, by all means, close it to them. Get a hold of Bill or Win and tell them that you’re going to close it, at least until I get back, and that they had better take anything that belongs to them and that they want, out of there before you close it.
WHOOPS !!! Made a mistake! Pages 5 & 6 are inside. This is page 7 and 8 is on the back.
Tomorrow I will finish this 12 page letter from Dave.
This is the second part of the letter I started posting yesterday.
The Red Cross Center in Manila
The Red Cross holds a forum once or twice a week. Last Sunday’s subject was a discussion on the advisability of a peace-time draft. The boys were thinking too much about the latest government order to keep on the subject of the draft. The discussion gradually worked around to the government order – more fellows stopped to listen to the arguments. Pretty soon the crowd got too big. Somebody suggested that they go outside. Once outside, the crowd grew still bigger. It was suggested that they break up before there was trouble, and they made plans to meet outside City Hall at 8:30 the following morning (Monday).
They started with twenty-five at the forum in the afternoon on Sunday night – broke up down-town with two thousand. I didn’t know how many were at the 8:30 A. M. Meeting which chose a committee of five to ask Lt. Gen. Styer, commander of A F W G As P A C (Army Forces Western Pacific) for a statement. But Monday night a group of 20,000 were in front of City Hall to hear his statement and also speeches from some of the G. I.’s. General Styer didn’t like the idea of the demonstrations – but his hands were tied. Unless these men caused trouble, there was nothing he could do about it. That’s what thrilled me, Dad, these men aren’t a bunch of misled sheep, that go panicky and cause trouble. They feel something is definitely wrong and that it can be corrected by concerted action. I’ll tell you frankly – I didn’t go to any of these rallies because I was afraid there would be trouble. I have been very pleasantly surprised. According to today’s paper, it looks like we may get some action. I hope so.
I’m going to cut this here. So help me, I’ll try to write more often.
Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in nineteen thirty-nine. At this point in time, Lad (my Dad) is the only son currently away from home. Grandpa continues to write a letter each Sunday informing Lad of family news and local activities in Trumbull.
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